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Donna Migliaccio – Author Interview April, 2020

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

When we launched Thrice Read Books’ review blog, our inaugural post was for Donna Migliaccio’s Fiskur (book 2 in the Gemeta Stone Series). Since so much has happened, and Donna has released three more books in the series, we snagged an opportunity to sit down with her to talk about the Gemeta Stone series in general, her most recent release, and what’s next for this epic fantasy author.

Jenn: Shall we talk books? Specifically, yours… It’s been a year or so since we last sat down and talked. I think Ragis was just coming out.

Donna: Ragis came out in September 2018. A lot has changed in the interim, with Fiery Seas going out of business and me having to learn the self-publishing biz.

Jenn: Tell us a little about yourself?

Donna: Sure. I’m a professional stage actress based out of the Washington, DC area and have published five books in my epic fantasy series, The Gemeta Stone.

I’ve also published a couple of short stories as well.

Jenn: How did I miss the short stories?

Donna: They didn’t get a wide distribution LOL.

Jenn: Aww.

Donna: One was a more literary work called Yaa & The Coffins, published in the now-defunct Thinkerbeat Journal; the other, Fire Bird, was published in Wild Musette a couple of years ago.

I don’t write short-form very often.

Jenn: I can imagine writing short form is challenging, especially when you write epic fantasy.

Donna: What’s funny is that when I write short stories, they tend to be under 3k words.

On the shorter side of “short.”

Jenn: You have my admiration! That’s amazing. 

Jenn: Have you always wanted to write or publish your writing?

Donna: Well, I’ve always written. Even when I was small, my brother and I used to write illustrated stories together. We’d open one of those black and white composition books and lay on the floor facing each other, each one drawing and writing on their own page. We were usually writing the same characters and roughly the same plot, just with our own twists. We’d spend hours doing that. Unfortunately all those “picture books” are gone now.

Jenn: Oh, no. What a loss.

Donna: When you’re an Army brat, you get used to it.

Jenn: Ahh the bliss of the PCS move.

Donna: My dad was ruthless about getting rid of stuff when we had to move.

Jenn: So how did you go from composition books to publishing Gemeta Stone?

Donna: I first wrote the Kristan Gemeta character as part of a high school composition assignment. We had to write the beginning of a novel, and I’d had a dream about a young man on a horse meeting with a young woman on a road beside a forest. So that’s what I wrote.

It was nothing more than a sketch, but I’d actually dreamed the name Kristan Gemeta.

I never did anything with it until years later, when I was out of college and living alone for the first time.

I’d already written and trunked another novel (a truly awful contemporary romance about a blind prince – fortunately it, too, no longer exists), but there was something interesting about the Kristan character that made me want to resurrect him.

Jenn: Who are the major influencers in your life and philosophy?

Donna: Family for certain. I come from a large family (six siblings!) and my mother and father are/were very dynamic people. Dad passed back in 2000; Mom just celebrated her 99th birthday.

Jenn: Happy Birthday, Mom!

Donna: All my siblings are “artsy” – we all sang or played an instrument or danced or drew or wrote growing up.

My parents encouraged that. We had to learn to amuse ourselves on long road trips.

So being imaginative was a survival skill.

Jenn: I think that’s awesome. So many kids now don’t have that support towards the arts.

Donna: Ain’t that the truth. Or if they do, it’s rarely arts for art’s sake. It’s more “how can I turn this into a side hustle and make some money?”

If you can’t find the joy in art first, it’s going to get real old real fast.

Jenn: It takes patience, perseverance, and a deep love for the craft to get good at any form of art. You’re absolutely right. If you can enjoy it, you won’t stick with it.

What advice would you give young artists – dancers, singers, writers, painters – from your perspective of having dedicated most of your life to the creative arts?

Donna: There’s a mindset with young people these days that they have to “win” at the creative game quickly. They might put in a couple of months’ work and get frustrated that they’re not experts at the end of that time. I wonder if that mindset comes out of playing video games – you put in thirty hours playing a game and you generally end up fairly proficient at it. But the creative process isn’t like that. It can take years to develop the skill set you need to write a book, or play an instrument, or act in a play.

Jenn: Very true. I think that falls into the “10,000 Hours” philosophy… that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to master any skill.

Donna: My advice to writers would be to READ. Read all the time. Read widely and analytically. I’m constantly stunned by the number of young people I’ve encountered who’ve decided they want to write a book – but they don’t read. They watch a lot of movies and TV, but they don’t read. And writing a novel is a completely different skill set.

Jenn: I’ve run into that quite a bit, myself.

Jenn: What other books or authors have influenced your writing, and specifically, the Gemeta Stone series?

Donna: T.H. White’s The Once and Future King had a huge impact on me. I believe I first read it because I was a fan of Disney’s The Sword in the Stone. But they’re nothing alike (in fact, I can’t bear the cartoon now – it seems coarse and thudding). The Once and Future King is a retelling of the Arthurian legend, but there’s such grace and whimsy and melancholy all mingled together. I was entranced by the idea of this good-hearted child who must learn to be a king.

Jenn: Having read Gemeta Stone, I can definitely see the influence there.

Jenn: If you had to explain this series in one sentence, what would you say?

Donna: Oh dear.

With the aid of a magical talisman, a gentle young king struggles to free his country from the grip of a powerful magician.

Or something like that.

LOL 

I always struggle trying to reduce a six-book series to a single sentence.

Jenn: I can empathize with the struggle…

Jenn: For our readers that are unfamiliar with the series, can you give us a quick book-by-book elevator pitch? (I promise I am not trying to break our featured author.)

Donna: 

Book 1 – Kinglet

Robbed of his throne, his crown, and even his name, gentle and introspective Kristan Gemeta must learn to lead before he can recover his family’s ancient talisman and take a stand against the Wichelord Daazna.

Book 2 – Fiskur

With the assistance of a band of rebels, a shipful of brigands, and the legendary Kentavron, Kristan defeats Daazna and his minions – but at a terrible price.

Book 3 – Stoneking

Kristan struggles to unite four disparate kingdoms and understand the true nature of the Gemeta Stone while battling the fear that he is losing his sanity along with those he loves.

Book 4 – Ragis

Kristan Gemeta teeters on the brink of madness while forced into a dangerous winter journey that will end in a confrontation he dreads.

Prequel – Princeling

The child Kristan Gemeta tries to find a place in his father’s battle-hardened court, while the youth Daazna faces his own struggles as he learns ancient Wiche skills.

GAH – why is that kind of thing so HARD??

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Jenn sits down with epic fantasy author, Donna Migliaccio

Jenn: Because you told the story with many hundreds of words, and your brain is trying to take the whole thing into account?

Donna: Maybe.

Tedious.

Jenn: In our last interview, we mentioned this series is appropriate for readers 16 and over, because of some sexual content and graphic violence. Now that the prequel is out, would you consider these standalone novels, or would you recommend that readers start in a particular place?

Donna: I feel that Princeling could be read at any point in the series, but where I think it’s most valuable is between Ragis and the yet-to-be-published final book in the series.

It answers a lot of questions set up in the first four books and gives some clues about what might happen in the final book.

Jenn: It does.

So Kinglet would be the recommended starting point?

Donna: I think that’s most useful – Kinglet, Fiskur, Stoneking, Ragis, Princeling, and then the last book.

Once I finish that LOL.

Jenn: What are some of the major ideas that you integrate into this book or your life in general?

Donna: That kindness is an essential component of life.

Even if showing kindness is viewed as a weakness rather than strength.

Kindness is at the core of Kristan’s existence, and trying to find a balance between that strong moral compass and the demands of his rule is a constant source of tension.

Particularly when he’s pitted against an adversary who is completely without compassion.

Jenn: And Daazna is definitely that.

Donna: Daazna is definitely a Big Bad, but one of the things I wanted to tackle in Princeling was how he got that way.

Jenn: Because people don’t just wake up one day and decide to be that level of evil.

Donna: What was surprising as I wrote the book was discovering that he and Kristan faced many of the same obstacles:  loss of a parent, not being accepted in their society, etc.

Jenn: You mentioned that elusive last book… what’s next for Kristan and his intrepid writer?

Donna: I do have a single line description of the final book LOL.

Jenn: Hehe… Let’s hear it!

(and hopefully, it doesn’t give anything away!)

Donna: After twenty years of peace, Kristan must face his old enemy in a new form.

So….we’re talking a major passage of time between the end of RAGIS and the beginning of the new book.

Jenn: Oh, my!

Donna: Which means I not only have to pick up all the various plot threads from the earlier books, but also introduce a boatload of new characters.

Jenn: Fantasy casts can get… enormous. Am I right?

Donna: They can indeed.

Jenn: So how can readers follow you and find out when the exciting conclusion is available? (Also, follow for the Daily Fox, and other great Donna excitement!)

Donna: I have a newsletter:  Fantasy, Fancies & the Occasional Fox. It comes out about every other month and includes my writing and theatre news, plus stories about my local fox population, birding, gardening, recipes, and other things that interest me. (It also has a Hidden Treasures link that will take you to a secret page on my website where I’ll occasionally post short stories and other writing.)

Or, readers can visit my website at donnamigliaccio.com

You can sign up for the newsletter on the website.

I can be followed on Twitter (@donnamig) and Instagram (mrsmig1).

Jenn: Sounds good.

It has been a pleasure, once again, to sit down and “talk” with you, Donna. Thank you so much for your time, and for giving us such fantastic stories as Kristan’s.

Buy the Gemeta Stone Books: (available as both Kindle and Paperback)

We’ve interviewed Donna before. You can find that post here.

Beyond Circumstances – Interview with Gloria Joynt-Lang

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

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Jenn sits down with the author of Beyond Circumstances, Gloria Joynt-Lang

Thrice Read Books participated in the original blog tour for Beyond Circumstances, by Gloria Joynt-Lang. In March 2020, Gloria re-rereleased Beyond Circumstances and we are so happy that Jenn sat down with Gloria to update our interview!

Interview March 6, 2020

Jenn: Alrighty! Let’s talk about your new contemporary romance novel, Beyond Circumstances. Is this your first novel?

Gloria: Yes, Beyond Circumstances was the first full-length novel I wrote. It was initially published in 2018. A few months after its release, the publisher went out of business. I received my rights back and took some time to decide if I wanted to republish Beyond Circumstances myself or try another publisher. While contemplating this, I queried another contemporary romance novel and I was lucky enough to sign a contract with a publisher for Braking Hard which hit the shelves a few weeks ago, (February 12, 2020). Inspired by other authors, I decided to take the plunge and self-publish Beyond Circumstances. I like the idea of doing both the traditional and self-publishing route simultaneously.  Both have their advantages.   

Jenn: How long was Beyond Circumstances in the making?

Gloria: I started writing it in 2016 and I believe the storyline is even more relevant today as it was then. 

Jenn: Beyond Circumstances is a romance with some serious twists and I imagine there was considerable research? Maybe “twists” isn’t the right word… You’ve tackled some big topics in the novel, and done so with exquisite finesse. How did you approach the research?

Gloria: Each time I went over it, I saw something I wanted to change. Numerous revisions are part of the creative process, but there was a point where I needed to take a break, so I started on another project before I finished Beyond Circumstances. It helped me to recharge my batteries. In regards to research, I love digging into various subject matters. For Beyond Circumstances, I listened to Opera music and absolutely fell in love with it.  Other parts of the research dealt with talking to people who went through traumatic experiences.  That was a bit more difficult, especially on an emotional level.

Jenn: As a PTSD survivor, I appreciated the honesty in Zak’s experience. I’ve read so many stereotyped “wounded warrior” romances, where love just fixed the problems. It doesn’t work that way for most of us, much as we might want it to.

Gloria: Yes, I agree. Love doesn’t cure mental health any more than it does cancer. My husband is a PTSD survivor and I can’t just hug the nightmares out of him. He’s doing better than when he was first diagnosed, but there will always be triggers. He avoids movies with a lot of violence, but sometimes graphic scenes pop up.  

Jenn: Right. Managing the triggers is a chore sometimes. What inspired Zak and Lexie’s story?

Gloria: Zak and Lexie’s story was inspired by both PTSD and policies that are centered on stereotypes. One of my taglines for the novel is: Heroes walk among us all the time. We think we know who they are, but sometimes we have no idea. Unfortunately, we live in a society that judges people without even knowing them. 

Jenn: Could you tell our readers a little about the book?

Gloria: Beyond Circumstances takes place within a setting of a small rural town in Illinois. The type of place where everyone knows each other and there’s a lot of shared history. It centers around Zak, a man of Middle Eastern descent, and Lexie, the town’s new doctor. Although Zak’s been residing in the community for a couple of years, he’s still an outsider in many respects. When a relationship emerges between the two, a local businesswoman along with her son, the town’s Sheriff, caution Lexie to stay away from Zak. Initially, Lexie ignores their ambiguous warnings, but when Zak vanishes for several months, she begins to reconsider how she sees him—torn between her own experiences with the man and the rumors surrounding his disappearance. 

Beyond Circumstances explores bigotry, and the underlying issues of fear, grief, and isolation. It’s about healing from one’s past and the power of communities who band together to help their neighbors. It addresses Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its impact on not only the person afflicted but those around them. I don’t mean to be vague, but I also don’t want to give away too much.

Jenn: Right! I am trying to phrase my questions so we don’t get inadvertent spoilers!

Living in a small town myself, I can vouch for the quirkiness you’ve created, but those characters have to be experienced. I can’t imagine trying to explain them (well, I can, but it was explaining them to Brian, and giving him parallel personalities that we deal with in our little town!).

Gloria: I spent my childhood in small communities and, after a couple of decades in the city, I returned to rural living. I love the friendliness of the people in small towns. I don’t think the people are any quirkier than city folk, but you get to know your neighbors better. On some level we all have idiosyncrasies. For example, I’m the opposite of Willow in Beyond Circumstances as I actually fear birds…except for Penguins.  Penguins will never swoop down on you.

Jenn: Lol. I can understand that! Did you always know you wanted to write professionally or was this more of a later-in-life decision?

Gloria: I’ve always loved writing and in a way, I did get paid for writing when I wrote reports at work. As a parole officer, you spend a lot of time assessing risk and formulating reports to justify your assessments.  When I retired, I missed the writing, so I started doing it again. But this time I wanted to write stories that ended with a happily-ever-after.

Jenn: What an awesome transition!

Gloria: It wasn’t planned, it just evolved this way.

Jenn: Sometimes, the best things happen that way.

Gloria: True.  I’m not big on planning.

Jenn: I take it then, that you are a pantser when it comes to your writing style?

Gloria: Yes, for the most part.  I do jot down ideas as they come to me and then try and organize them into a scene. But there are plenty of times where it just flows as I type. Every time I start a new novel, I vow to be more organized. Well…I guess there’s next year.

Jenn: That’s always a wonderful experience when it becomes more channeling the story than trying to “write” it.

Gloria: Yes, but I end up doing months of self-editing and revisions as I have a tendency to write too much.  For example, Beyond Circumstances started off at 120,000 words and by the time I finished I shaved off more than 20,000 words. As I learned from various editors, less is often better. 

Jenn: Haha! I know how that goes.

Jenn: So, Beyond Circumstances is now available on Amazon and with Kindle Unlimited, but you mentioned that you have another one in the works. Are you far enough along with the second book (I’m guessing it’s the sequel to Beyond), that you can give us an idea of when we might be able to anticipate that one?

Gloria: Yes, the second novel in the Out of the Darkness Series is Escaping Circumstances. I’m aiming for a release later this year.  Like Beyond Circumstances, it’s a stand-alone novel.  It tells the story of Scorp, who appears in Beyond Circumstances. He’s a lot rougher around the edges than Zak, but his background is just as interesting.

Jenn: I have to admit, I’d love to get his story. Scorp reminds me of a number of soldiers I met and interacted with during Brian’s enlistment and my own time as a military-civilian.

Gloria: Yes, I’ve worked with a few Scorps myself.

Jenn: So, we have Beyond Circumstances that readers can (and should!!) grab and we won’t have a long wait until book 2 comes out. It sounds like an awesome deal to me.

As we wrap up, is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

Gloria: I’ve done the third novel for this series. This time I’m focusing on a Beta man as opposed to an Alpha man.

Jenn: Oh my! Suddenly I have ideas of who that might be about, but I’m keeping my mouth shut. 

Gloria: Thanks, I appreciate that. 

Jenn: You bet! On behalf of Thrice Read Books, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk today, and for this wonderful romance novel!

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Jenn sits down with the author of Beyond Circumstances, Gloria Joynt-Lang

Join Gloria on social media: Facebook     Twitter     Website


Books by Gloria Joynt-Lang

Beyond Circumstances

Braking Hard

Facebook Author Takeovers Coming!

Fantastic news! Our first Facebook Author Takeover is completely booked with four fabulous authors starting at 1 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, Friday, 2 August. (that’s just a few days away!)

Sam and I went live on the TRB Facebook page to talk about authors, books, and, yes, “book bloops.” (Watch the whole video to find out.)

Sam and Jenn went live this morning to talk about books, authors, the vlog (book bloops, anyone?), and our Author Takeover coming up on Friday.

Posted by Once Written Thrice Read on Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Leslie Scott – Author Interview

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Jenn interviews Leslie Scott, contemporary romance author and creator of the Arkadia Fast series
Jenn interviews Leslie Scott, contemporary romance author and creator of the Arkadia Fast series

Jenn sat down with Leslie Scott, an author we’ve featured before here on Thrice Read Books, to talk about life, romance, and her new release, Hot Lap. (You can find links to her reviews for Leslie’s books at the bottom of this post.)

Jenn: I’ve had the privilege of reading two of your books so far, and I’m in love with your style and characters, but before we get to them… Could you tell us a bit about you?

Leslie: Thank you, by the way. Especially the part about the characters. That always makes me smile.

I live in North Alabama. So think more rockets and engineers and fewer cotton fields and rednecks.

Jenn: Right on…

Leslie: I’ve been a stay at home, homeschool mom since this writing journey started. I have an eleven-year-old gifted son and a school setting was difficult for him. So if I’m not writing, often I’m teaching. It’s been a learning experience for both of us.

Or playing Mom-Taxi, there’s a lot of that.

Jenn: Homeschooling is a huge challenge that requires flexibility and constant adaptation. I remember those days well.

Leslie: It’s really a mess, a lot of times. My mom lives with us (and has for years), the other day she asked me if I was ever planning on cleaning the books off the kitchen table.

To which my son piped up “That’s the math lesson right now, we can’t.”

Jenn: Right! When Sam decided she wanted to do public school last year, I think I had a mini-celebration for all the new shelf space I’d acquired.

Leslie: Right? LoL. But we do that, we rescue and foster cats and dogs. I currently have eight (4 of each) right now and none are fosters. Well, one is a foster fail.

When this writing gig got busy, I had to enlist the aid of an online curriculum. So, while I supplement heavily, it’s not all on my shoulders anymore. And he’s doing well with that.

Jenn: So, you write romance, teach middle school, foster kitties and doggos…plus entertain rocket-men and engineers?

Leslie: LOL, mostly yeah. And Mr. Scott does cars. Always cars. Buying, selling, fixing, restoring, playing… cars. Which is where the idea for Arkadia Fast came from, lol.

Jenn: Hehe… I’ve known a few of those. I noticed a distinct flair for classic muscle in Hot Lap. If you ever get out to the West Coast in the Summer, we have a couple of fantastic little car shows.

So, how did this writing gig get started? Have you always wanted to be a writer? Or was it more of a hobby/idea that came from extra homeschooling time?

Leslie: I’ve always been a writer. Since I was a little girl, I’ve told and wrote stories. Won writing competitions. And for years I wrote on writing sites on the internet… for fun. (back when that was a thing)

I’m actually jumping into the Radish App this spring, which will be like going back to those days for me. The homeschooling thing just allowed me time to really pursue this as a career.

Jenn: That’s one I haven’t heard of… What’s Radish?

Leslie: Radish Fiction is a mobile app for serialized fiction.

Jenn: That sounds like fun.

Leslie: Basically, you read a few episodes for free, then pay a small amount to open the rest. Yeah, the likes of Bev Jenkins and Kelly Armstrong have stuff on there.

Jenn: Oh… that does sound interesting.

Leslie: It’s a cool way too, for me to explore new genres

Granted, the app is romance heavy, I’ll be writing an Urban Fantasy (with romantic elements).

Jenn: I’m always curious about this when I get the answer “I’ve always been a writer.” Did you pursue writing/creative writing in college?

Leslie: In high school, yes.

I went to a technical college first, and they didn’t have creative writing. But after the plan was to go for an English degree (still on the agenda, but haven’t got around to it) with a focus in creative writing.

My 8th grade English teacher goes to church with us.

She told me back then I should be a writer, she’s thrilled now.

Jenn: Hehe… That’s awesome!

So, as we transition over to talking about your books, let’s dive into the source – Where do you get your ideas for stories?

Leslie: lol, is “the voices in my head” a good answer for that?

Jenn: As a writer… it works for me!

Leslie: In truth, some just come to me. Others I get a spark of inspiration from everyday things.

Jenn: Right.

Leslie: The Arkadia Fast series came from watching drag racing/street racing videos on youtube with Mr. Scott. And going to a few street races (and the drag strip).

BUT Two Hearts, One Stone I wrote specifically for a publisher’s open call

Jenn: I figured there was a personal experience there. The descriptions were too precise.

So, let’s talk about Two Hearts first… That was my introduction to your work, and I fell in love with your style in that story.

Leslie: Awe, thanks! I love my little cowboy novella.

Jenn: It’s a really sweet story.

Leslie: Thank you.

Jenn: You wrote it for an open call. For those who aren’t sure what that means, could you explain it a little?

Leslie: An open call is when a publisher wants a certain type of story. So they put it out there (both to their authors and often to the public) that hey we’re looking for this type of story written to a certain type of parameter.

For Stone, it was a novella about a cowboy and a baby.

Jenn: That sounds challenging. Do you write the story on a deadline? Or write the proposal and then do the story while you’re waiting on the response to your proposal

Leslie: Different for each story, truly.

For Stone, I wrote it on my own and submitted it when I finished (no real deadline).

Jenn: Okay. That makes sense.

Now, Arcadia Fast… that’s an entirely different thing, and I haven’t read book 1 yet (book 2 was awesome, and I didn’t feel like I was really missing out on anything by having not read #1). is that your only other series on the shelves so far?

Leslie: Right now, yes. I hope that changes by the end of the year. There are quite a few other things in the works. But, this business moves so slow. LoL.

And there are still four more Arkadia Fast novels to go.

Jenn: It does! Between the creative work and the product development (pretty much everything not writing and editing), it’s not an exact science.

Leslie: Indeed not. There are lots of things happening behind the scenes, though, and I can’t wait until I can share them with everyone.

Jenn: Yay! I’ll be looking forward to those.

Leslie: Let’s just say, my first true love… is romantic suspense. And at some point, more cowboys.

Jenn: Hot Lap comes out in just a little over a week, so let’s talk books! For those who haven’t gotten around to the review yet, what’s Hot Lap about? (Because it’s not about lap dances!)

😉

Leslie: Well, let’s start with what it means, first.

Jenn: Indeed!

Leslie: Hot Lap is a racing term for the turn around at the end of a track and running the race again without a cool down period for the car.

It’s dangerous, exciting, and well… yeah.

Jenn: More danger, more excitement.

Leslie: So, in Hot Lap, our hero is stepping back into the world of romantic relationships. Hadley, the heroine, is his Hot Lap.

The novel is about a young woman trying to find a place to belong and a young man trying to hold his little family together.

Jenn: He’s also a single father, with complications.

Leslie: Yes, indeed.

A young, single father, which really ads in another layer of problems

Meanwhile, the heroine is trying to hide a very large secret about herself.

Jenn: This is book 2 in the series, but I didn’t feel totally lost in reading it. Can you back up just a bit, and introduce book 1?

Leslie: There is a very major plot point in book one.*

The entire series follows a group of friends in the small town of Arkadia, Texas.

The Finish Line (book 1) is about Raelynn Casey and what it’s like to come home when it’s the last place in the world you want to be and the only place you need to be… All at the same time.

First loves, tragedies, and all of those things.

Jenn: I think I know which group of friends…Is this the race track/street racing bunch?

Leslie: Yes, it is. Most of the town is drag and/or street races. The prominent family in the first three novels (hint to book 3) own a Performance Speed Shop in town.

Jenn: Exactly. I caught a heavy hint of that tragedy in book 2.

Leslie: That tragedy, the loss of someone you love, haunts the entire series in its own way.

Jenn: It’s not something to just “get over”. That’s for sure.

Leslie: Indeed not. I think a lot of books do that, just skim past it as back story.

In truth, when something colors every decision you make, it becomes its own character in a way.

BUT, the books aren’t depressing. They are about finding the light and love despite such a thing.

Jenn: It does. And honestly, the way that you’ve portrayed the ongoing effects of such a loss, makes your characters come to life in a different way, which I love.

Leslie: Thank you, very much.

Jenn: I can’t speak for The Finish Line, but Hot Lap was definitely not depressing.

Leslie: The Finish Line is not either, it’s exciting and fast-paced and sexy.

Jenn: Two Hearts was, as well, so I have no doubt!

Leslie: I wish Book 3 was about to come out, as we could expand on this much more. We should revisit the topic when it does come out. lol

Jenn: Perhaps!

Leslie: Especially if you like big scary guys who turn into teddy bears.

Jenn: Hehe…

What one tidbit would you dangle in front of a prospective reader? What would you most like for a reader to know before diving into your books, or if they were considering reading one of your books?

Leslie: Oh wow. I don’t know!

I guess, that they may be romance novels (and romance gets a bad rap) but the characters come to life. Their stories, what happens to them, is more than just a romance. I like to write characters that become your friends, your family in their own right.

That’s why I said it means a lot when someone mentions them as you did at the beginning.

Jenn: You do that superbly, by the way.

❤

Leslie: Thank you.

Jenn: I hate when I hit the end of one of your stories, and dang it! The page won’t turn, because that’s the end!

Leslie: LOL. That’s a pretty awesome compliment.

I’m blushing.

🙂

Jenn: Aww

As we start to wrap up, what’s the best way for readers to follow you?

We have links at the end of the article, of course, but where are you most likely to be hanging out?

Leslie: I’m a Twitter-aholic.

Jenn: The writing community on Twitter is amazing, isn’t it?

Leslie: Yes, it really is. That’s the best way to interact with me as I’m constantly there and have Tweetdeck open all the time.

And sign up for my Newsletter. I don’t spam, but any updates and the like I get (giveaways, contests, cover reveals) all go through my mailing list first.

Jenn: Sweet. We’ll be sure to link to that, too.

Leslie: And if you really love the stories, I have an ARC  group on Facebook. So, a chance to read my stuff before anyone else. And a glimpse into all the stuff I’m doing I “can’t talk about.”

Jenn: For a quick recap, The Finish Line is already out, Hot Lap comes out soon… and book 3 is waiting in the wings. Any chance we could get ball-park release time for book 3?

Leslie: I’m hoping Book 3 (Full Tilt Boogie) will be out this winter.

Jenn: Very good!

Leslie: But, my serial, Black Water Magic will be out early May on the Radish Fiction app.

Jenn: Alrighty! I definitely have to add that to my tool kit.

And there goes my TBR pile… Again.

Leslie: LOL. Mine is RIDICULOUS, btw. I have an ad running on Bookbub so I log in daily to check it, and the first thing it shows me are the sale ebooks in my favorite genres.

So… yeah. LoL

Jenn: Hehe. I came home from RWA-2018 with over 100 books… And that’s just from RWA.

Leslie: Oh yeah, we did a small conference (you’d love it) in Atlanta called Moonlight and Magnolias

Jenn: Aww!

Leslie: And my CP had to check her suitcase on the flight home because she brought home so many.

Jenn: Oh, no! I know we had about $150 in shipping to get the books home because I couldn’t even fit them in my bags.

Leslie: Yeah, I can see that.

Jenn: But the one thing Hubby never hears is “I have nothing to read.”

Leslie: I drove, thankfully, and brought mine with me.

Jenn: Exactly! I’d like to thank you again, Leslie, for joining me today, and having such a fabulous little chat.

Leslie: This was fun, Jenn. Thanks for having me.

Jenn: I’ve been looking forward to getting to sit down with you since I read Two Hearts, so this was a HUGE treat for me.

Leslie: oh yay!

*Jenn has The Finish Line in her reading cue, so keep an eye open for the review!

Jenn interviews Leslie Scott, contemporary romance author and creator of the Arkadia Fast series

Jenn interviews Leslie Scott, contemporary romance author and creator of the Arkadia Fast series

Find Leslie on the Web!

Website Newsletter BookBub Facebook

Twitter Pinterest Youtube Playlists

ARC Review Group

Our Reviews of Leslie’s books:

Two Hearts, One Stone Hot Lap

The Finish Line (review coming soon)

Buy Leslie’s books here:

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Katherine Hastings – Author Interview

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Jenn sat down to talk to author Katherine Hastings about her debut historical romance, In the Assassin’s Arms

*This post originally appeared in the July 12, 2018 edition of BETWEEN THE LINES – our monthly newsletter. We’ve since changed the format, and you can sign up here.

Another amazing historical romance novel made its debut this week, along with its author! Jenn read and reviewed the book, and sat down with author Katherine Hastings, to talk a bit about the story.


Allow us to introduce… 

Katherine Hastings.

Jenn: So, Katherine… New book, FIRST book, coming out next week. Are you more excited, or nervous?

Katherine: It’s coming up so fast! I’m switching between nervous and excited with enviable speed. I think I may give myself whiplash.

Jenn:  No! No whiplash.

Katherine: I joked that I was going to wear a neck brace on release day so I don’t hurt myself. LOL

Jenn: LoL… totally.

So, In the Assassin’s Arms comes out in a little over a week. Could you tell us a little bit about it?

Katherine: Sure can! In the Assassin’s Arms is the story of John Douglas and Charlotte “Charlie” Cornewalle who were childhood friends, and each other’s first crush. They haven’t seen each other since childhood and then Charlie comes back into John’s life… but not how he’d hoped. The sweet little girl he remembered is now a skilled assassin, just like him… and she thinks his father murdered hers. He thinks she killed his friend. If that isn’t bad enough, they are each members of different factions of assassins… and sworn enemies. When they both end up with a target on their back, they must work together to find out who is after them, and solve the mystery of who killed her father. Both of these assassin’s must battle their way not only through the people who are after them, but through the feelings for each other that grow on their adventure.

Jenn: Oh, wow! Now, this is a historical romance… What time period does it take place in?

Katherine: It is set in 1714 England.

Jenn: I’m looking forward to reading it (I just got my ARC a couple days ago… squee!). And this is your debut novel… have you always wanted to be a writer?

Katherine: I’m so excited that you’re participating in my first book release! As far as always wanting to be a writer, when I was a child I said I wanted to be a writer. But, like most children with their dreams of being professional ice skaters, or hockey players, I didn’t really think it was an actual option. I put aside my writing after high school and didn’t write again until a few years ago when I got knee surgery. I was so bored I decided to start writing a book I’d come up with, in a dream, about a decade ago. There I was with my leg stuck up in the air and I just started typing away. Once I started I couldn’t stop! I finished the novel in a couple of weeks and was so sad it was over, I started another, then another. Even with a few books written, it still hadn’t occurred to me that I could actually be a writer. But, with the encouragement of my friends, I sent one in for consideration, and Fiery Seas sent me the email they wanted to publish it. There was lots of jumping that day. Lots and lots of jumping. LOL

Jenn: I bet! So, is In the Assassin’s Arms the first in a series? Or is it a standalone novel?

Katherine: It is the first book in a series. So far, I have three written.

Jenn: Oh, very awesome! I adore series…

Katherine: Me, too! I like to get lost in a series and follow all the characters as long as the author will let me!

Jenn: Do you write full time now? Or do you juggle your writing with another J-O-B? And if you do the juggling thing, how do you find balance?

Katherine: I have a business handling marketing and social media for businesses in my area. Luckily for me, it’s incredibly flexible so when I get an idea for writing, I can usually stop what I’m doing for work and write. It’s made balancing the two quite easy, actually. I’m very lucky!

Jenn: Very cool! The businesses that have you working for them are very lucky, indeed. That social media marketing thing can be a killer when you have the million OTHER things needed as a business owner.

Katherine: Exactly! It’s my job to handle their social media so they can focus on what they do best!

Jenn: How much planning do you put into your writing? Or are you more of a pantser?

Katherine: I am a planner through and through! Each book I write starts as a dream. Then from my dream I figure out the plot from start to finish. Once that is done, I put it into a chapter by chapter outline. I leave plenty of room for creative twists and what-not, but when I start writing I have the entire book plotted out. It helps me write so much faster than before I started doing this.

Jenn: I totally envy your ability to write like that… Every book I ever outlined, I had to start back over from scratch.

Katherine: LOL! It definitely takes a lot of thought before I start writing the outline! But so far I’ve stuck to it quite well!

Jenn: Very cool. You mentioned that Assassin’s Arms is the first in a series, and that you have 2 more finished. Could we get an idea of when we can anticipate book 2?

KatherineBeneath the Assassin’s Touch is the second book in the series. Fiery Seas has it signed for publication and it will be out in print and digital hopefully later this year! I’m really excited about this one. It follows a character you’ll meet from In the Assassin’s Arms, Viktor, on his own romantic adventure.

Jenn: Yay for continuing adventures and learning more about other characters!

Katherine: He wasn’t a planned character in In the Assassin’s Arms, yet I adored him so much when he waltzed into my book I knew he needed his own!

Jenn: hehe… Those tend to jump out at us, right?

Katherine: Right!

Jenn: Our review of In the Assassin’s Arms will be live on July 12, and we’ll have buy links up as soon as they become available. is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you or your debut novel before we wrap up?

Katherine: I can’t wait to see what you think about my first book baby! I hope that you and others have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s plenty of action, adventure, and romance for anyone who enjoys those kinds of books. This has been such a childhood dream come true and I look forward to writing more books that hopefully everyone will enjoy!

Jenn: Here’s to book babies and dreams come true that you never thought would!

Katherine: It’s been an incredible adventure!

Jenn: I bet!

I’d like to thank you for your time, on behalf of Thrice Read Books and our readers. This has been so much fun, and I’m so looking forward to reading In the Assassin’s Arms.

Katherine: Thank you so much for hosting me! It’s such an honor to have you take interest in my book, and I can’t tell you how much you book bloggers mean to us new writers! We appreciate you more than you know!

Jenn: Just out of curiosity, would you be heading to RWA2018 in a few weeks?

Katherine: I actually won’t this year due to a bunch of work stuff, but next year I hope to! It’s on the calendar!

Jenn: Aww. Awesome!

Katherine: I really do appreciate all your support! This has just been so fun! You’re my first official interview! LOL

Jenn: Whoohoo! I love that we get to be firsts

I’ll have buttons for this at the bottom of the post, but can readers find and follow you on social media?

Katherine: Great! I love getting social with people!

They can find me at www.katherinehastings.com. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. [We’ve got the links in the buttons below!]

Katherine: Thank you again for hosting me!!

Jenn: You bet!

Have a great day, and watch out for that whiplash!

Katherine: HA HA HA! I am pretty accident prone! LOL

Jenn: You, too, Katherine. Thanks again and good luck.

Jenn sat down to talk to author Katherine Hastings about her debut historical romance, In the Assassin’s Arms

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Our Reviews of Katherine’s Books:

In the Assassin’s Arms Beneath the Assassin’s Touch

By the Assassin’s Side

Buy Katherine’s Books Here:

Swansong – Cover Reveal

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Thrice Read Books is pleased to present the new cover for Allie McCormack's SWANSONG, to be released March 15, 2019 - Multicultural Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance, OwnVoices, Diverse Books
Thrice Read Books is pleased to present the new cover for Allie McCormack’s Swansong, to be released March 4, 2019

About the Book

SwanSong, Allie McCormack (Sons of the Desert Book 1)

Adult, Multicultural Romance,

Release Date:  March 4, 2019

**Be sure to check out the whole post to see the gorgeous cover for this book!**

Sarah Pendleton was born into a life of wealth and
privilege, raised in the shadow of her famous soprano
mother and her father, an equally famous composer. Shy
and retiring, and treasuring her anonymity, Sarah has left
behind the world she grew up in to make her own life in
the coastal town of Santa Barbara, California.
A visiting University professor of Arabic literature from the
small oil-rich country of Taqara, Khalid Al Mansour is the
eldest son of an ambassador and an independent
American artist. He’s never settled down in one place, but
that’s because he’s never found what he wanted… until
one evening he sees the lovely bellydancer at a small,
smoky cafe downtown.

Thrice Read Books is pleased to present the new cover for Allie McCormack's SWANSONG, to be released March 4, 2019 - Multicultural Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance, OwnVoices, Diverse Books
Thrice Read Books is pleased to present the new cover for Allie McCormack’s SWANSONG, to be released March 4, 2019

About the Author

Allie McCormack
Author Allie McCormack

 A career medical transcriptionist, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who’s recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. A disabled veteran, Allie now lives in the beautiful Sorona Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time. 

Truck Stop is her first published novel. It’s being produced as an audiobook with an expected release around early January 2019. Her next romance novel, the first of a four-book paranormal romance series, is planned for release shortly after. 

Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of storylines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”

You can sign up for Allie’s monthly newsletter and find out about her other upcoming releases and current projects at her website www.alliemccormack.com.

Website: Allie McCormack’s Website 
Blog: Allie’s Blog 
Facebook: Allie on FB 
Twitter: Allie on Twitter 

Cover Reveal

Hey, hey! It’s that moment that this whole post is about! The almighty cover-reveal. We haven’t read the final copy, but Jenn has beta read portions of this book while it was in development. If you’re a romance fan, you’re going to want to get your hands on this book, and get it early! (It’s already available for pre-order, and we’ve got a link down below, so you can get first access). 

And… without further ado… Jenn went gaga over this cover.

Swansong is available for pre-order now. Be sure to get your copy! Multicultural Romance, Adult Romance, OwnVoices, Diverse Books
Swansong is available for pre-order now. Be sure to get your copy!

Buy the Book

Wishes In A Bottle Promo Post

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Thrice Read Books is pleased to feature Allie McCormack's WISHES IN A BOTTLE, the first in her Wishes and Dreams series.
Thrice Read Books is pleased to feature Allie McCormack’s WISHES IN A BOTTLE, the first in her Wishes and Dreams series.

About the Book

Wishes in a Bottle, Allie McCormack (Wishes & Dreams Book 1)

Adult, Paranormal/Fantasy Romance, 326 Pages

Release Date:  January 15, 2019

Long ago, Julian DiConti was caught in a powerful spell binding him to a Djinn bottle, forced to grant wishes to each owner of his bottle. Three wishes… of the right kind… could free Julian of his bonds, but after six hundred years, he is beginning to wonder if he will be trapped as a Djinn forever. 

Enter Alessandra Taylor, good Samaritan extraordinaire. She’d gladly free Julian from the spell if she could, but he isn’t allowed to tell her how, and one by one she’s driven to use the precious wishes to help others. But where will that leave Julian and the growing love between them?

Thrice Read Books is pleased to feature Allie McCormack's WISHES IN A BOTTLE, the first in her Wishes and Dreams series.

About the Author

Allie McCormack
Author Allie McCormack

 A career medical transcriptionist, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who’s recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. A disabled veteran, Allie now lives in the beautiful Sorona Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time. 

Truck Stop is her first published novel. It’s being produced as an audiobook with an expected release around early January 2019. Her next romance novel, the first of a four-book paranormal romance series, is planned for release shortly after. 

Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of storylines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”

You can sign up for Allie’s monthly newsletter and find out about her other upcoming releases and current projects at her website www.alliemccormack.com.

Website: Allie McCormack’s Website 
Blog: Allie’s Blog 
Facebook: Allie on FB 
Twitter: Allie on Twitter 

Allie is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway as part of the launch for this book. You can sign up here for a chance to win a fabulous prize!

Mini book trailer for Wishes in a Bottle by Allie McCormack

Excerpt (by Permissio)

Jenn here – I just got my copy of the final version of Wishes in a Bottle on release day. I beta read this book and Loved it. Be sure to snag your copy soon. And now, a quick excerpt from the book!

“Come on, come on.”

Robert cast a nervous glance about him, hoping that no neighbors could see through the overgrown jungle that his sister-in-law had allowed to take over the yard. If this were his, he’d rip out all these stupid plants and seed it with grass for a smooth lawn. And no swings or sandboxes to muck the place up, either. He wasn’t having any more children to take his wife’s attention and keep her from taking care of her husband, who should have been her main concern. No, a brick barbecue was what he’d have, maybe a nice hot tub.

He struggled to fit the slim piece of plastic through the narrow space between the door and its jam. Everyone went on and on about how door locks could be opened with credit cards, but it sure didn’t seem to be working. Still, he was confident it wouldn’t be much longer. Alessandra was such a fool, so trusting. She didn’t even have deadbolts on her doors. Didn’t she know that a simple knob lock could be easily opened?

“Yes!”

The tongue of the latch gave, and the plastic slid forward, holding the tongue in its groove, and the handle turned under Robert’s fingers.

From the other side of the door, he heard a low rumbling. Startled, he straightened, peering through the glass window set into the door. Staring back, almost head-even with him, was the largest, blackest Great Dane he had ever seen in his life. Its great jaws were parted, the teeth frighteningly sharp and white. The snarls emerging from those open jaws were vicious.

The dog lunged, flinging its huge body against the door separating them. Robert let go of the doorknob and pushed away so hard he fell, almost cracking his skull on the cement step. He pushed the pain aside, scrambling back from the door, praying that the slender door jam would hold as the full weight of the beast hit it again, shaking the door. Robert thanked God that he hadn’t actually opened the door and that the kitchen door opened inward, not outward.

The animal ceased his lunges at the door and was standing on his hind legs, paws on the window sill, watching Robert through the glass. Slavering, menacing snarls crescendoed to loud, ferocious barking, the dog’s eyes fixed on him with murderous intent.

Robert picked himself up from the ground and ran for his car. Who would have thought that such a frivolous, irresponsible woman would keep such a dangerous animal? Robert reached his car, almost falling into the driver’s seat in his haste to reach safety, not breathing easily until the door was safely shut. His hands were shaking and he fumbled with the keys, fingers trembling as he found the right one and fit it into the ignition. He backed out of the driveway, aimed the car down the road and headed out of there in a screech of burned rubber. If he never came to this house again in his life, it would be too soon.

Back in the house, Julian dropped onto all fours and padded into the living room. Now that the intruder had been repulsed, the danger of invasion that had brought the canine’s instincts to the fore, Julian was in complete control of the animal body he had inhabited. Stopping to sniff the books on the coffee table, and drawing in Alessandra’s scent on her sofa, her easy chair, the shawl she had left draped on one corner of the bookshelf, he found he was rather enjoying the experience. It was rather cool, in fact.

He walked about the house, experiencing the long, easy strides of the Great Dane, his toenails clicking on the polished wood floors. He paused in front of the television. The morning news that had just come on when Robert had shown up was over by now, but there would be more. He curled his massive body up on the hearth rug before the fireplace, feeling a bit awkward managing the unaccustomed long limbs, but he achieved a comfortable position finally and laid his head on his outstretched paws. His doggy self heaved a sigh and prepared to snooze, even while he kept an eye on the television. This was definitely nice.

His jaws parted and his tongue lolled out as he laughed to himself, wondering what Alessandra would think if she came home to a large, black Great Dane that evening.

Buy the Book

Interview with Charley Pearson – Author of SCOURGE

*Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. You can read the legal stuff here if you’d like, but know that we appreciate you supporting Thrice Read Books by using our links to buy.*

Thrice Read Books interviews SCOURGE author, Charley Pearson

On this edition of “Between the Lines”, we sit down to talk to author Charley Pearson about his writing career, life, and new release, Scourge.

Jenn talks to Charley Pearson, author of science fiction/medical thriller SCOURGE

Jenn: I was reading your bio this morning while setting up the blog post for Scourge. It sounds like you have a fascinating background in all kinds of science-y goodness. Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Charley: Well, I started in biology, moved on to chemistry, then joined the Navy (after protesting the Vietnam War) and spent a career with them as a nuclear engineer. They had to give me extra training for that. Mostly oversaw chemical and radiological environmental remediation after the end of the Cold War, releasing sites for unrestricted future use.

Jenn: That’s an unexpected life choice, going from protester to the Navy.

Charley: I may be unique, for all I know. Gotta defend our right to protest. LOL. I was in the first OCS class post-Vietnam that was 100% volunteers, no draftees.

Meanwhile, raised two daughters and spent hundreds of hours backstage at their ballet studio, on sets and stuff.

Jenn: Biocheminuclear engineer by day, ballet stage-dad by night? And I hardly think you’re alone in the “defend our right to protest” thing. I’ve met a few folks in my years as Army wife and Army civilian that would join you in that sentiment.

Charley: Good. Oh – you’ve heard of soccer moms? The other guys and I called ourselves “ballet dads.” (heh, heh). Wrote a humorous mini-memoir that got published last January by Kallista Gaia Press

Jenn: Ah, yes! You mentioned your humor collection before we began. Before we get into the yummy stuff about Scourge, could you tell us a bit about your humor?

Charley: Well, that ballet thing was separate. The humor collection’s title piece, “The Marianated Nottingham,” finally tells the truth about Robin Hood, by revealing the Sheriff of Nottingham’s side of the story. (Poor guy’s trying to found a national park to protect deer, for goodness sake.) Full-length screenplay. Then there are 24 short things – skits, stories, and ballads (solid meter, strict rhyme, and no redeeming social value). Off the wall and sometimes Pythonesque.

Jenn: Aww… Are you gonna make me add more to my TBR pile? Everyone in the Thrice Read family is a huge Monty Python fan.

Charley: Yay! It is available from Amazon; the e-book is only $2.99.

Jenn: I’ll add a link down below for those interested.

Having read the blurb for Scourge though, this seems to be a huge leap from humorous screenplays, poetry, and skits to intense medical thriller. How did that come about?

CharleyScourge – yes, quite different. I had this idea for the technology back in college, but it was premature. Now that computers are so much better, I dug it out and couldn’t resist finally writing it. The tale includes a recurring theme for me — pragmatism vs. morality (aren’t there at least some situations where ends justify means? Maybe?), plus the idea of someone who decides, dang it, they’re going to do what seems right no matter what it costs them.

Jenn: The Messiah archetype?

Charley: Perhaps. But coming from a flawed character who’s been concealing a dark secret about her Roma clan her whole life.

Jenn: It’s those flaws that really make those characters pop off the page and become real. Now, in reading the blurb… is there a single protagonist? Or do you have co-protagonists (hero and heroine)?

Charley: Ah, there’s a love story subplot about these two geeks who have no clue how to read each other. The woman is the main lead, but the guy cons her into trying something she wouldn’t have on her own. The resolution depends on both.

Jenn: Nerd-love! While saving the world, no less. Very cool.

Charley: So terrorist virus, multiple villains, and FBI who thinks the protagonists are at fault, and health agencies who could never solve the problem on their own.

Jenn: Sounds rather twisted and complex, and a little too close to plausible.

Charley: I have a Kirkus quote, “Imaginative and full of action…continually shifting the quirky plot into places that are both surprising and fantastical.” – Kirkus Reviews

Jenn: So, on the seriousness scale, where would you say Scourge falls, between light-hearted and ultra-serious/dark?

Charley: Hmm, tough one. The science may be achievable someday, which I find seriously worrisome from an oversight standpoint. But the story has a lot of light moments and comic relief. I particularly like the parrot, as will your Monty Python fans.

Jenn: I’m trying not to laugh hard enough to alarm Brian. I can imagine how a Python-esque parrot might fit into the story.

Charley: He’s named Mr. Praline. You know, for the John Cleese character, in the.. well, you know which sketch. 

(Clip from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Season 1 episode 8, aired 12-7-1969)

Jenn: Oh, my!

Charley: Sometimes I have a difficult time avoiding humor, even when writing serious stuff. Sigh.

Jenn: I personally like a little humor in the suspense I read, because I get heavily invested in the really good ones, and that makes for some disruption in the real world. And I know several readers that are the same way.

Charley: Yeah, the pacing is essential in any tale.

Jenn: I noticed that your protagonist/heroine comes from a Roma family. When I read that, I think of gypsies. Am I assuming incorrectly? Or could you clarify that, for our readers?

Charley: Ah, yes, Roma = Gypsies = Romani, though the latter is also an Italian name. Some people have used the term Gypsies in a disparaging manner, so it has been dubbed incorrectly occasionally. I tried to clarify the issue in the novel. The clan often refers to themselves as Gypsies, but outsiders vary.

The female lead is in the clan. The guy isn’t. That’s one of the key problems between their ever getting together.

Jenn talks to Charley Pearson, author of science fiction/medical thriller SCOURGE

Jenn: Okay. Major intercultural hurdles can make for some delicious tension.

Charley: Hey, my mother (mixed English/Irish/Belgian/who knows ancestry) faced prejudice from my father’s parents (3rd generation pure Swede). It’s amazing how stupid prejudices are.

Jenn: It is. And yet they persist, sadly. Hopefully, as the literature world starts to come around to diverse books, that will begin to change.

Charley: Yup, diverse should help a lot. The MC in my historical is Japanese-American, and I was really lucky to find a guy born in Tokyo in 1938 to give me a beta-read and advice.

Jenn: Very awesome! That particular generation, while I grew up surrounded by them, they are rapidly disappearing. You’re very fortunate to have that kind of reference.

Charley: True. My dad was the meteorologist on Tinian during the war. Got me interested in that theater and era.

Jenn: And probably gave you a little boost in the direction of a science-based career?

Charley: Undoubtedly. No way he would let me major in music no matter how good a drummer I was. No money in it. Gotta have a productive career. Depression mentality that generation grew up in.

Jenn: Exactly. Although… I think a few drummers have made quite the living, but, erm… I don’t quite think that working in a rock band would have fit the description of “gainfully employed” by his standards?

Charley: LOL – you got it! Hey, I had a great career, so can’t knock his advice!

Jenn: Bingo!

As we reach the end of our time, is there anything else that readers should know about Scourge, or you as an author?

Charley: Well, I’ve got a couple of short stories out in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fantasy anthologies, if anyone reads those. And I’ve got a YA-historical that’s nearing completion. So don’t count on any consistency from me.

Jenn: LoL! Keep us in mind when that YA is finished! I bet Sam will be all over that.

I’d like to thank you, on behalf of Thrice Read Books and our readers, for taking the time to answer some questions for us.

Links for your published work and your social media are down below, so readers can find you.

Charley: And a humongous thank you back at you! Most fun, and truly helpful for getting the word out to potential readers. Here’s hoping they like it!

Jenn: May your launch be successful, and your book sales through the roof!

Charley’s Social Media: 

             Facebook              Twitter               Website          

 Buy Scourge:

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

Check out Charley Pearson’s

THE MARIANATED NOTTINGHAM AND OTHER ABUSES OF THE LANGUAGE

Interview with Anthony Thomas – Author of BREACHERS

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Thrice Read Books hosts another stop on the BREACHERS blog tour with Fiery Seas Publishing. In this post, an interview with BREACHERS author, Anthony Thomas.

This week, we have as our guest, Mr. Anthony Thomas, whose debut novel, BREACHERS, was recently featured on Thrice Read Books’ review blog. We talked to Anthony back in August, about the release.

Thrice Read Books hosts another stop on the BREACHERS blog tour with Fiery Seas Publishing. In this post, an interview with BREACHERS author, Anthony Thomas.

Jenn: Okay! You have a new book coming out in September, Breachers. Before we talk too much about the book, is this your first published novel?

Anthony: Yes it is. The first novel I wrote shall forever remain in a drawer, never to see the light of day again. Breachers was the first book in which I pursued publication and was very excited to receive an offer from Fiery Seas Publishing!

Jenn: Congratulations! And never say never… You might work up the courage (or the boredom) to pull that first one out and do something with it. You never know.

Tell us a little about you. Having read your bio, you’re a bit of a mystery.

Anthony: I was born and raised in Northern California, enlisted in the military, then stationed in Las Vegas. After separating from the military 6 years later, I accepted a contractor position overseas for right around 18 months. I recently returned home, just in time for the long-awaited release of Breachers!

Jenn: Oh, yay! I know deployments don’t always go as planned, even for contractors. And yes, it has been long-awaited! I think we did the cover reveal with Fiery Seas back in… February?

Anthony: Definitely was February. I’m not counting down the days or anything… okay. I totally am.

Jenn: It’s okay. I think it’s a bit like expecting a baby… And there’s so much to do, isn’t there?

Anthony: The to-do list is insane. Far more than I ever anticipated. Luckily, I was well guided throughout the entire process and had a very good experience.

Jenn: Why don’t you tell us a bit about Breachers?

Anthony: Breachers stemmed from a dream that woke me in the middle of the night. One where I was shot (we all have those kinds of dreams don’t we?) and instead of dying, I replayed the entire scene. A do-over if you will. I woke up, grabbed my phone, and typed in the notes. Breacher- Someone who can move through time.

Then, I went back to sleep. After I had woken up, I looked at my phone and everything just sort of built up after that!

Jenn: So, is Jason (the protagonist and anti-hero of Breachers), a time traveler? Is that how he is able to change events?

Anthony: Yes. Each death triggers his ability to replay the moment unfolding before him. Think of a video game. Super Mario falls off a platform, dies, then does it all over again.

Jenn: Before I spin off into the ether with questions that our reader might not get (and thus, avoid inadvertently asking for spoilers!), why don’t you tell us a bit about the book?

Anthony: There’s a hero mold I wanted to avoid. Hero gains ability. Hero stops the bad guy. Hero saves the day. This was a route I considered in the early stages, but then I thought to myself, what would the average person do if they learned they couldn’t die? Would they really save people? Or use the gift for personal gain? Let’s face it. There are a lot of people out there who are only looking out for #1. And if a person like that couldn’t die, they would no doubt use the gift to their advantage. Jason is that idea. And Breachers follows Jason through his less than favorable ways to acquire wealth.

Jenn: I agree. And the anti-hero is starting to show up in more and more fiction. It’s a fascinating concept.

Anthony: It gives a realism that the cookie cutter superhero cannot.

Jenn: Right. But Jason doesn’t get to just do his thing and get rich, right? You’ve put the squeeze on him and forced him to make a choice.

Thrice Read Books hosts another stop on the BREACHERS blog tour with Fiery Seas Publishing. In this post, an interview with BREACHERS author, Anthony Thomas.

Anthony: Jason has to make more choices than he is physically or emotionally able to handle. His latest score comes from a man with power. One who comes knocking on his doorstep. Not for blood. But a job.

Jenn: A little blackmail in the mix?

Anthony: Let’s just say he definitely stole from the wrong person.

Jenn: Whoops! That’s usually the end of most crime sprees, though, isn’t it?

Well, making critical errors, anyway.

Anthony: For Jason, it’s the beginning.

Jenn: Sounds intriguing! Is this the first in a series? Or is it a standalone?

Anthony: This book is a standalone with series potential. I enjoyed the characters so much, it was a door I didn’t want to completely close.

Jenn: So… are we able to expect more of Jason’s exploits in the near future? Or is there something else in the works?

Anthony: Nothing in the works just yet. But I have caught myself plotting from time to time. Who knows? We will have to wait and see

Jenn: Hmm.. The plot thickens…

As we wrap up, is there anything else that you’d like readers to know before embarking upon reading Breachers?

AnthonyBreachers is something I wanted to feel fun. Fast-paced. Filled with fight scenes, shootouts, and hilarity that forces the reader to quite literally, laugh out loud. And my biggest hope is that I deliver on all of the above.

Jenn: We’ll be reviewing it in September, for sure…and I say “we” because Brian may snag my ARC when I’m done with it, and throw his two cents in. Especially if I’m keeping him awake at night, laughing!

Anthony: I look forward to it! Thank you so much for having me!

Jenn: You bet, and thank you for your time today.

Anthony: It was my pleasure!

Check out the review here.

Buy the Book: 

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

Incompetent Gods – Review

About the book:

In a dimension created by the ancient gods, most are now stuck working at Gods Incorporated. CEO Queen Louhi Pohjola, a mortal demigoddess turned vampire (on a diet), holds the planet in the palm of her hand and while she cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called a nice person, there’s worse lurking in her shadow.

Goblin, a bitter hybrid with childhood issues and shape-shifting abilities, has a grudge against the world. First on his to-do list is getting rid of the Queen and take her place by forcing the titan Ba’al to devour her.

As her friends and allies fall one-by-one into Goblin’s traps, the Queen’s fate seems inevitable. With no one left to fight, will Ba’al’s friends, a bunch of over-the-hill incompetent gods, be enough to stop Goblin from turning the world into hell?

About the author:

Gabriele Russo

Gabriele Russo was born in Quebec City amidst a family of book lovers – her father had dreamed of being a writer and both of her brothers are published authors. 

Since she earned her Bachelor’s in History, it was no surprise (except to her) that she ended up working in restaurants, eventually owning two, which almost drove her mad. She sold them and was nursed back to pseudo-sanity by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. 

That’s when she answered the family calling and decided to write. Armed with her ideas for the Gods Inc. series she went back to University and got her Master’s in Creative Writing.

She now lives with her husband in Virginia, where she divides her time between painting, teaching French and Creative Writing, playing tennis and, of course, writing more books.

Sam’s Review:

So, this book takes place in a dimension where all the gods and goddesses from the pantheons, Celtic, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, you name it, try to survive in the modern world. Of course, all of them are governed by the leader of Gods, Inc. (trust me, it may sound like a comedy, by it really wasn’t… Either that, or I have a different sense of humor that what this book was geared towards.).

The queen, who happens to be a vampire, is named Louhi. I think that I’m pronouncing it right. The book didn’t really come with pronunciations here.

Of course Goblin, the bad guy, wants what she has: the seat of power. He gets it, he controls the gods, in a way. So, yeah, he’ll need to kidnap some gods, torture them, send Louhi to our dimension. It won’t work, but still.

This book is definitely not a kids book. It has a lot of bad language in it, but it is very good. It gets four stars, and it does have a sequel that I’ll do later. If you’re wondering why it is at four stars, allow me to explain. I did not enjoy it like I thought that i would. Sorry.

The reason behind the rating is simple, I didn’t like the concept. Gods would go great together, I thought. They’d be fine, I thought. Yeah, that kind of moment. I did like that they brought in vampires though. Vampires rock.

Buy the book:

This book is available in Kindle and paperback editions here. [affiliate link]

Other books in the series: 

Inclement Gods

Incoherent Gods